AP Top 25: Takeaways From Week 12 Poll

The AP Top 25 for Week 12 was released Sunday afternoon. Here are some takeaways about the movement in the newest edition of the poll.

It might come as a shock given how dominant Alabama has been this year, but the Crimson Tide were selected as the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 for the first time all season this week. With Nos. 2, 3 and 4 all falling for the first time since 1985, the Tide received every first-place vote after crushing Mississippi State, 51-3, on Saturday.

Michigan’s loss to Iowa dropped it from No. 2 to No. 4, while Clemson lost to Pittsburgh and fell from No. 3 to No. 5. Washington, already on the outs with the College Football Playoff committee because of a perceived weak resume, didn’t do itself any favors for its Playoff chances while falling, 26-13, to USC. The Huskies dropped from No. 4 to No. 7.

Lost in all the commotion were two SEC teams suffering significant drops in the poll, plus another Group of Five team joining the rankings.

Here are some other instant AP Top 25 takeaways from the newest edition of the poll.

Ohio State, Louisville Benefit From Chaos

The Buckeyes and Cardinals already experienced their tough setbacks, as Ohio State lost to Penn State and Louisville fell at Clemson. But as is usually the case, losses earlier in the season don’t have as much impact as those that come later and are fresher.

Ohio State is back up to No. 2 in the AP Top 25, jumping four spots after dominating Maryland, 62-3 – the same score as the previous week’s game when the Buckeyes crushed then-No. 9 Nebraska. It’s almost as if it never lost to the Nittany Lions, who have shot up the rankings to No. 9 on the heels of that victory. After all that, everything in the Big Ten East remains the same – Michigan and Ohio State will settle the division on Nov. 26 in Columbus.

The Cardinals survived a slow start to beat Wake Forest this week, and they’ve moved back up to No. 3. Lamar Jackson very much is the Heisman favorite, and he might be able to gather his hardware while preparing to lead Louisville into the College Football Playoff.

SEC Free Fall

Remember when the College Football Playoff committee placed Texas A&M at No. 4 in its initial rankings despite the Aggies having a loss? It turns out its belief in A&M was misguided. The Aggies have lost two straight, falling to Mississippi State before this week’s 29-28 loss to Ole Miss. They dropped from No. 10 down to No. 23 in the newest poll, and their CFP hopes are gone.

The same goes for Auburn, which was on a roll until losing at Georgia, 13-7, in a sluggish game that brought back memories of the Tigers’ earlier offensive issues. Auburn finished with 164 total yards without star running back Kamryn Pettway, causing its fall from No. 8 to No. 18 in this week’s poll. That defeat also takes some luster out of the upcoming Iron Bowl.

Welcome to the Party

Last week was the first time all season that every team remained in the same poll from the previous week. That wasn’t the case this time. Three new members joined the AP Top 25 after North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Baylor all slipped out of the poll with losses.

USC has been one of the nation’s most confusing teams given its six-game winning streak following a 1-3 start. The Trojans entered at No. 15 following their win over Washington and are putting themselves in position for a solid bowl bid.

Another set of Trojans also made a splash this week. Troy debuts at No. 25, making its first appearance in the poll in school history. It’s also the first time ever that a Sun Belt team has been ranked in the AP Top 25.

San Diego State makes its return to the poll at No. 24 after improving to 9-1 with a 46-16 win over Nevada.

Looking ahead

There are a few ranked-vs.-ranked matchups coming up that highlight next week’s college football schedule:

  • No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 10 West Virginia
  • No. 20 Washington State at No. 12 Colorado
  • No. 21 Florida at No. 16 LSU

Potential upset matchups include the No. 3 Louisville at Houston on Thursday night and No. 13 Oklahoma State at TCU.

MORE: No. 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 12